[Updated] The CRomnibus Comes Through for NASA and Planetary Science
Final 2015 budget bill would increase funding
The U.S. budget cycle for fiscal year 2015 is coming to an end. Should Congress pass the so-called CRomnibus bill as-is, NASA would see its highest funding level since 2011 and a great increase to its Planetary Science Division.
China is moving forward with plans to launch an orbiter and rover to Mars in the 2020 launch opportunity. The Mars program also includes plans for sample return in 2030.
NASA's Orion spacecraft is back on dry land following its offloading from the USS Anchorage late Monday night. Here are some selected photographs by Kevin Baird.
Jason Callahan takes a detailed look at the effects of Curiosity's cost overruns on NASA's budget.
As 2014 comes to a close, The Planetary Society steps into our 35th anniversary year with a new strategic plan.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/05 07:46 CST
NASA’s Orion spacecraft returned safely to Earth this morning after what looked like a flawless four hour, 24-minute test flight.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/04 12:27 CST
Here are some scenes from launch day, shot from the unique perspective of the Vehicle Assembly Building.
It's been a long journey, but it's nearly over: New Horizons is just about ready to begin its science mission to Pluto, Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. I'll remind you of New Horizons' capabilities and simulate how Pluto will appear in optical navigation images.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/12/03 02:53 CST
The stage is set for NASA’s Orion spacecraft to launch on a two-orbit, four-hour shakedown cruise tomorrow morning. Patrick Air Force Base’s 45th Weather Squadron changed their forecast of an on-time launch to 70 percent—up from the 40 percent chances that marked the start of the week.
Hayabusa 2 successfully launched on December 3, 2014 at 04:22 UTC, and embarked on its interplanetary journey about two hours later. During the launch, cameras captured video of the spacecraft fairing separation.
Last month, the Earth's longest-lived and most traveled robot on another planet drove into a network of fractures the likes of which the scientists had never seen before on Mars and wound up working there through the end of the month – and then something not completely unexpected happened.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/12/02 10:54 CST
Hayabusa 2's H-IIA rocket has just reached its launchpad! Japan's next asteroid sample return mission was supposed to launch this weekend, but weather has not been good at the Tanegashima launch site and it has been delayed four days already. If the weather holds, it will launch December 3 at 04:22 UT (13:22 JST, or December 2 at 20:22, PT). UPDATED to add links to live webcasts.
Posted by Van Kane on 2014/12/01 07:39 CST
With the release of the official Announcement of Opportunity (AO) early in November, NASA has officially begun the competition to select its next low cost ($450M) Discovery program planetary mission. Because planetary scientists are free to propose missions to any destination in the solar system other than the sun and Earth, these competitions bring out the creativity in the planetary science program.